Toca Cars

Common Sense Media says

Drive anywhere fast, but watch out for pesky playmates.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Very easy to play. Two modes: An already constructed world for beginner and youngest players, and an empty world that players can design themselves by tapping on the buildings and other objects to populate the screen.

Violence & scariness

Players tap on a garbage can that makes a round, black bomb with a fuse appear when they want to clear the screen of buildings. Kids tap on the bomb, and then all the objects they've included in their car world vanish in a cloud of smoke.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Toca Boca's Privacy Policy for all of its apps, including Toca Cars, is posted on its website. It says it may collect and use parents' personal data in certain circumstances, including a user’s name, screen name, email address, photo or other image, birthdate, gender, or avatar image. Kids are not required to enter personal information to play Toca Cars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Toca Cars is a quirky driving and building app that mimics a homemade cardboard toy car, road, and building set. It includes mildly violent content: Kids detonate a bomb to clear the screen. Players choose from a girl or boy driver, and two modes of play: an already constructed world for beginner and youngest players, or an empty world that players can design themselves by tapping on the buildings and other objects to populate the screen. As kids choose from a variety of objects -- from buildings, street signs, and ramps to ice cream spills and a Swedish flag -- they drive around the roads, bump into objects, and jump ramps. This whimsical, one-person driving game also includes a pesky dog that chases the player's car, and a robot that pushes everything in its way. Build, drive around, knock down, get chased, jump ramps, and more on Toca Cars.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum
  • motion

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Free-flow, engaging play, although the dog chasing and robot bumping the player's car can become frustrating. Still, the cardboard cutout objects and bright surroundings create a happy, make-believe scene.

Learning Approach

Designed to maximize no-rules creativity. As kids observe how the dog and robot move, they can choose how much they want to interact with them; unfortunately, that's not clear from the start, and some kids may become quickly frustrated.

Support

No formal tutorial, but many players won't need one. The grown-ups section (accessible from the main screen) has some gameplay explanations. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum
  • motion

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Even though Toca Cars doesn't include directions or lessons on any specific subject or learning skills, kids can learn about motion and momentum as they watch how moving their finger in different directions on the screen affects where their car travels, how objects are knocked down by being bumped, and how their car floats in the air after driving up a ramp. They can exercise their creativity as they arrange objects in their own driving world. The digital creative play in Toca Cars may inspire kids to build their own real-life cardboard world, but the learning in the app itself isn't particularly deep.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

Choose the girl or boy driver, then select one of two modes: Pre-constructed World or Empty World. In the pre-constructed mode, kids simply drive the car around by moving their finger in the direction they want the car to go. In the empty world, kids scroll through and drag objects on the bottom of the screen to places on or around the roads, then drive, knock stuff down, or jump ramps as in the other mode. Drive away from the chasing dog, and avoid bumping into the robot or it will push your car around. A fun, free-flow driving experience.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With its cardboard cutout objects, bright colors, and adorable drivers and cars, TOCA CARS is a lot of fun to look at and mostly fun to play, although maneuvering around the dog and robot "mechanical playmates" can be frustrating. Also, the use of a bomb to clear the screen of buildings seems curiously out of step with the rest of the app, which is otherwise clearly suitable for youngest app users. A more kid-friendly choice for screen-clearing could be an eraser or even play scissors to match the cardboard theme. That said, it's really fun for kids to choose what to include on and along their car's roads, then jump the ramps, knock over objects, and drive almost anywhere they want on this non-racing driving app. They can knock over anything in their path in this no-rules playland (which is somewhat misleading, given that most cars can't knock down trees in one bump, but this is make-believe play).

Unfortunately, the dog and robot that chase, bump, and knock over the player's car are downright maddening at times and don't seem to jibe with the fun-loving road trip. If kids aren't bothered by the dog-and-robot chasing, Toca Cars can be a fun way to construct and drive around in a bright, merry world of their own making.

Families can talk about...

  • If your kid is frustrated by the chasing dog and pushy robot, offer some tips on how to avoid them.

  • The next time you have some cardboard boxes around, make a cardboard world together and incorporate some of the objects from Toca Cars.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$.99
Release date:September 18, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Cars and trucks
Size:39.00 MB
Publisher:Toca Boca
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS ??

This review of Toca Cars was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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